If you’re on the fence about whether you want to keep a Christmas gift or not, you’d better hurry up and decide. Experts warn that holiday returns could be more challenging this year, thanks to changes retailers are making. It turns out, there may now be less time to bring something back and it might not be free anymore.
Here’s what you need to know about exchanging or returning holiday gifts this year:
- Decide fast - We’ve gotten used to those generous return windows, but they’re now shrinking. Research shows about 60% of retailers are changing their return policies this year, with many shortening the long return windows we enjoyed during the pandemic. Amazon is one of them, they’ll now allow most items bought from October 11th to December 25th to be returned by the end of January, which is less time than in previous years. According to CNBC, a 30-day window for returns is now typical.
- Prepare to pay - Some retailers are now charging customers for returns that used to be free. Abercrombie & Fitch, Anthropologie, DSW, TJMaxx, Old Navy and Zara are a few of the retailers now charging a restocking fee for some items. Most fees are between $4 and $8, but some are higher. Spencer Kieboom, CEO of return management company Pollen Returns, says the fees do cover some of the costs related to returns, but they’re really there to discourage people from making returns. Other retailers don’t charge the fee, but will make customers pay to mail back the item.
- Go to the physical store - Instead of mailing back your return, go to the retail store in person, when you can. That can often save you from paying the restocking fee for mail returns, plus, you may get your money back sooner than if they had to send it off to a processing center. In-store returns are also a little more eco-friendly, as research shows online returns result in 14% more waste than those that happen in stores.
Source: CBS News